Saturday, 6 March 2010

Class and politics ramble

Some scribbling on class and politics:

I should probably give up trying to establish a class identity. It’s fairly irrelevant to most of our generation and all of the generations below us, except those that get involved in socialist/anarchist politics – and those people would come under ‘middle class’ really anyway as they’re either a) students or b) people with enough leisure to time waste at such meetings. I used to bother to defend my alleged ‘working class’ roots but sadly the media own such debates now and ‘working class’ now seems to mean ‘dole scum’ i.e. the non-working class.

[It’s as tragic as the misappropriation of the word ‘emo’ to describe a recent fashion trend rather than an excellent 90s sub-genre of punk. I can’t even use the word now. Post-hardcore isn’t really the same, but it will have to do as a description for the future now that 'emo' is forever tainted.]

There’s isn’t a classless society as some politicians might like to suggest, but once clear lines are now faint to the point of barely existing, like a recently cleaned whiteboard.

I have perhaps in the past exaggerated my relative scumminess in comparison to the people I generally see these days, i.e. university educated, some of whom went to public school. I’ve probably been in more fights than most of them having lived in Mansfield from birth ‘til uni, and my family are far from rich, but I’m hardly a council estate kid selling hash and robbing pensioners.

To skip back to a half made point, it seems the people most interested in things like marxism and anarchism are students, especially the students who get involved in student politics. They don't seem to recognise the irony there.

It doesn't help that political debate in this country and others has been reduced to stupid reactionary debates, led by tabloid agendas set by media moguls who think it's their right to try to influence elections. It's created a situation where the papers will bang on about immigrants and muslims being the root of all evil using misinformation, outright lies and picking at latent prejudices, and if you speak to people who don't know much about politics there are the issues they will talk about, informed by the slow drip of hate coming from various media outlets. When the BNP try to campaign on exactly these issues (sometimes using quotes from these papers) the papers attack the BNP, having failed to notice that they have created a climate where their ideas can be accepted by people who would normally find such parties abhorrent.

Then the problem is created that expressing fairly liberal opinions on these issues leads to accusations of somehow agreeing with islamist terrorists and 'hating this country' because it's been turned into some stupid 2 sided argument (I hesitate to use the term 'black and white' here...) when in reality it's far more complex than that.

Then there's the feedback loop of parts of the media accusing other parts of 'dumbing-down', a debate so unhelpful it's ridiculous. When a newspaper accuses the BBC of dumbing down and then spends 3-4 pages talking about Katie fucking Price what conclusions are we supposed to draw from that? Even the 'quality' papers are increasingly guilty of this kind of shit.

Then in the same paper there will be talk of the government encroaching on our freedoms with tracking technology, CCTV, airport scanners etc, while encouraging the government to 'crack down' on crime and 'illegal immigration' . What do you want? A police state or anarchy? If you want it black and white then those are your choices. The reality lies in the middle, as ever. Some people like the idea of a crack down until it stops them doing what they want, as quickly as they want (see any UK airport, or any kind of police cordon anywhere), while others love the idea of anarchy until they get robbed or someone pushes in front of them in a queue. I could go on, but I've already rambled to much for now.

You can have it both ways - we've had a version of it for a long time - but it needs some tweaking. I have no faith that any of the political parties currently in existence will be able to make these tweaks.

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